The Nigerian Senate has started taking delivery of 108 Toyota Land Cruiser Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV) it ordered for members at the cost of N3.8 billion, Daily Trust gathered.
It was learnt that the first set of the cars, numbering 36, was delivered last Tuesday and distributed to senators the next day.
It was also learnt that the vehicles were purchased at N35.1 million for each, double the price of each in the showroom in Nigeria.
However, following thorough investigation, it was gathered that a Toyota Land Cruiser SUV V6 2016 model is sold at N17 million.
A source privy to the delivery of the cars who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that one senator had been given from each of the 36 states of the federation.
“Since only 36 were delivered at a meeting on Tuesday, it was agreed that one senator should be given from each of the 36 states of the federation. They were given the cars on Wednesday,” the source said.
It was gathered that another set of 36 cars would be delivered in two weeks, and the last batch of same number in early May, bringing it to a total of 108 cars to be supplied by the contractor, as each senator is expected to get one.
A senator who spoke to newsmen said: “The cars were initially pegged at N35 million but now it has been reviewed upward to N55 million.
“They will soon bring the remaining cars but most of the senators close to Saraki have been given. My friend started driving his own on Thursday,” he said.
On whether some of the senators will sell the cars, the senator who also spoke on the condition of anonymity said: “Nigerians should watch out. Our colleagues have started receiving the cars but some have decided to sell theirs because they don’t want their people to know about them.
“If you collect the cars and you think you are doing the right thing, why won’t you drive it? Are they [Senators] not the ones who insisted on buying the cars? If it is legal and right, let them drive the cars to their constituencies.”
Also speaking on the issue, the spokesperson of the Senate, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, described the acquisition of the cars as a necessity, and not luxury.
“Let us face the reality, if Special Advisers can use cars like this as official cars, then why the noise about ours?
“A senator is representing a constituency, a district. Do you expect him to be trekking to discharge his duties? These cars are not a luxury, the cars are a practical and absolute necessity,” he said.